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20121112
20121120
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infrastructure to transport water away from the urban environment. one approach was to carry waste and stormwater through the same pipe. this combined system was less expensive than building two individual pipe networks. and stormwater was seen as a way to flush out the sewers. through the 19th century, the combined system was considered state-of-the-art throughout the world, and is still in use in many cities today. but cities constructed these systems before treatment was the standard. and even today's largest treatment plant doesn't have the capacity to treat the sudden volumes of water rushing through a combined system during rain. the plant is overloaded, and the excess rainwater, mixed with untreated raw sewage, is diverted straight into local waterways, creating a combined sewer overflow, or cso. there are over 700 communities in the united states with combined sewer systems. the other approach was to separate wastewater from stormwater, using two pipe networks. this separate system simply carries the stormwater away from the city. but even separate systems pollute the watershed. in develo
to reduce the infrastructure's impact upon the environment. on the front lines of protecting the beaches, are the crews that clean out the stormwater system. man: this big vactor truck works on the same principle as your vacuum cleaner in your house, only this thing sucks up the whole house. some of the storm drains collect a lot of trash. i started cleaning drains in '93. they were horrible because they hadn't been maintained so much. now this is a priority. you have trash, animal waste, and it ends up on our beaches. that is a health risk. that is one of the main reasons why we have to close the beaches after heavy rain. narrator: but even when it's not raining, water still enters the stormwater system, carrying pollutants. here on the west coast, a lot of our storm drain systems are separate from the sanitary sewer system, so if you dump something in the storm drain, it goes right to the ocean untreated. alamillo: we haven't had a major rainstorm in the last year or so yet there's a lot of water in this creek here. i would say 20% of it is natural and the other 80% is runoff. shapiro:
Search Results 0 to 2 of about 3 (some duplicates have been removed)